JEDDAH: Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta on Saturday in Jeddah ahead of its Italian challenger Luna Rossa.
The New Zealand team clinched the victory after three days atop the standings and exploiting its speed advantage to pick up back-to-back wins.
The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli closed the second preliminary event of the 37th America’s Cup in second place, having raced brilliantly in the final race.
“We’ve been sailing so well all week, haven’t done too many things wrong and we’re super happy to come away with the win here in Jeddah,” New Zealand skipper Peter Burling told the crowd.
“It has been awesome here and a great showcase for our sport, to have a couple of breezy days here, it’s been amazing.”
Luna Rossa skipper Marco Gradoni said: “We definitely didn’t race very well but we were there with the Kiwis.”
Hundreds of fans visited the America’s Cup Race Village on Jeddah Corniche to see the New Zealand team claim victory in the final race.
Badr Al-Kadi, Saudi deputy minister of sports, and Grant Dantly, CEO of the America’s Cup, also attended the trophy ceremony.
Dantly thanked Saudi Arabia for hosting the Preliminary Regatta and praised everyone involved in organizing the race.
“It was a very successful race, weather conditions were great, and we really enjoyed being here in Saudi Arabia,” he said.